Kaboom Beggin For Change

Producer, rapper and most visible member of Vancouver, BC’s Ink Operated, Kaboom has entitled his debut album using a double entendre that perfectly sums up the role of the socially conscious underground rapper in three words: Beggin For Change. Going outside of his own self-contained unit for production is Kaboom’s biggest mistake here: "Why Be Friends,” featuring Moneca Delain and produced by Moves, is derivative and boring with an R&B chorus and all, and maybe "Hard to See,” featuring Cast Headwork and produced by Kalo Guha, is just as bad but at least deserves respect for a noble message of equality. The final song, "Somone Else’s Favorite,” is an acoustic folk ballad that has nothing to do with Kaboom and must be on the album thanks to a lost bet or dare. Kaboom’s three instrumental tracks are good but a little long, thus breaking up the momentum of the album. Aside from that, Beggin For Change kicks ass. "I Don’t Want to Give You Props” sets the album off with a blaze of braggadocio. Kaboom drops knowledge on American imperialism and the media’s role with "CNN,” brings the laughs with some Kool Keith kookiness and a throwback alter ego named Beefcake for "It Ain’t As Easy,” and breaks out a thrilling tale for "Reality Faked.” Moves deserves props for "Seasons,” an up-tempo jam that Kaboom pun-ishes, and the slow-building "Necktie Noose,” another superb story. Cuts from Wunderkut and System certainly can’t hurt the album. Beggin For Change is a fine solo album from someone who walks the path of teacher, storyteller and court jester, even if he stumbles occasionally. (Low Pressure)